Crocs on a Plane

What a bizarre story.

A rogue crocodile, in the process of being smuggled in a passenger’s carry on luggage, escaped mid flight. And caused the plane to crash. And killed 20 people.

A stampede of terrified passengers caused the small aircraft to lose balance and tip over in mid-air during an internal flight in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The unbalanced load caused the aircraft, on a routine flight from the capital, Kinshasa, to the regional airport at Bandundu, to go into a spin and crash into a house.

The crocodile, and one passenger, survived the crash. The crocodile was killed by a salvager with a machete. The full story is here, at the Courier Mail. So it must be true.

Who would win?

Speculation is fun. But there’s nothing like speculation that involves pitting one party against another. This fascination began when, as a child, I would catch bees in match boxes and put them in jars with green ants. Locking them together in a fight to the death.

This probably says something about some deep seeded psychological problems that will come back to haunt me.

A couple of years ago I contacted a crocodile specialist to find out who would win a fight between a croc and a shark (Townsville has both in droves).

The Pacman v Mario video I posted today is part of a series of these conceptual match ups. It’s like the celebrity deathmatch claymotion series… just with fictional characters in line drawings, and names changed to prevent trademark infringement.

Daintree Rainforest

One of our little jaunts out of Port Douglas was a trip to the Daintree. Both Robyn and I previously felt our tropical citizenship was somewhate lacking having not seen crocodiles in the wild so a croc tour was the order of the day.  Unfortunately the crocodiles did their best to maintain the status quo. But we did spot two little’uns on our trip with the Crocodile Express. Hurrah. 

Unfortunately, prior to the tour Robyn had, in her haste, locked the keys in the car. How embarrassment. I was confident of my breaking and entering skills having made the same mistake myself on occasion – but alas, the piece of box tape I procured was not up to the task. It slipped off the button lock thing over and over again. We were doomed. To a life spent in the Daintree Village – the locals, perhaps fearing the consequences of our relocation, leapt to our aid. The woman manning the information centre had previously worked in a correctional facility and the residents had given her all the tips and tricks. But she fell short of the mark – and called on two hardened locals who seemed all too handy with a screwdriver and coathanger… after a couple of minutes, and a couple of stubbies of XXXX Gold, we were back on the road. 

One of the things that you don’t get warned about (adequately) is that to get to the Daintree Discovery Centre you need $19 cash in hand for the return car ferry trip. So be warned. 

The trip is probably worth it – provided you’re not expecting to come across real, live, cassowaries. 

There are statues though, and a chance to experience a cross section of rainforest flora – from canopy to undergrowth.

Crocs in the backyard

Stuss has posted a little bit of news that has been circulating on the local radio today. A crocodile – reported to be between 2.5 and 3 metres – was hit on one of Townsville’s main roads at 3am today. You need to remember that most people* in north Queensland are fishermen so that figure should be taken with a grain of salt and some chips.

One of the things that is particularly idiosyncratic to the North Queensland psyche is this “siege mentality”, or something close to that, regarding how the rest of the world sees us. The rest of the world thinks North Queensland starts at Gympie. When as far as we’re concerned North Queensland (the government statistical region) starts at Ayr and extends to Cardwell. Townsville is the capital of this region. Far North Queensland stretches from Cardwell to Cooktown. Townsville is also the capital of that region.

We, in Townsville, don’t like it that people attribute things, like Port Douglas’ population of crocodiles that regularly “interact” with local children and animals, to everyone in “North Queensland”. And we don’t like it when cyclones hit somewhere more than 200km away and we all get tarred with the same brush. The confusion is widespread.

Greater north Queensland is anything from Mackay North – and again, Townsville is the capital of that region. Confused? Well weather producers around the country are too – so much so that I was once asked to draft a letter to send to them pointing out that Townsville is much bigger than Cairns and has a bigger economy. We don’t have the penetration in the national psyche that Cairns does thanks to its position as a tourism destination.

Much of the confusion was initially created by Townsville’s “twin city”, Thuringowa, which robbed us of vital population statistics for many years. That confusion has not yet been eradicated by the council amalgamations. But maybe one day Townsville will receive the recognition it deserves.

This is particularly likely if we continue to experience phenomenal weather events and have crocs wandering the streets at night.

It’s a problem of capitalisation. Townsville sees itself as the “capital” of all the different nominal definitions of north Queensland. We are the largest city in northern Australia. Bigger than Darwin (which also suffers a “split personality”). The other “capitalisation” confusion comes when describing north Queensland – we describe greater north Queensland with a little “n” but specifically refer to our part of north Queensland with a capital N. North Queensland is at the heart of north Queensland. Townsville is at the heart of the heart of north Queensland – so we are rightfully the capital. Confused? Good.

*gross exaggeration

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